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Everything You Need to Know About Kickstarter

Anyone even the remotest bit active on social media or the internet in general has surely read about the infamous potato salad Kickstarter campaign. You might be asking yourself, how does one raise over $40,000 to simply create a potato salad? Or maybe your question is more general, what exactly is this platform that is enabling people to do so? The answer is Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform with an inspiring mission based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the hub of creative individuals looking for their big break. Kickstarter might just be their answer.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects of all realms: music, film, games, art, design, technology, and even potato salad. They launched in April 2009 and since have been enabling people to fulfill their biggest dreams through funding and direct support from everyday people just like us. Kickstarter isn’t just for the Average Joe – numerous celebrity-backed campaigns have been launched through the help of this platform from big names like Zach Braff and Kristen Bell. Still not impressed? Check out these insane stats:

  • Over $1 billion has been pledged
  • Over 65,000 projects have been successfully funded
  • There are over 6 million backers with almost 2 million of those being repeat backers

Important things to know about Kickstarter:

  • Each project is independently created – Basically this means that you as the pledger have complete control of your project. Kickstarter does not intervene and try to tweak things. Best of all, anyone can launch a project, no matter how obscure it may seem.
  • You, as the project creator, set the goal and deadline – funding is all-or-nothing. This is to say if you don’t reach your goal by the projected deadline, you don’t receive any of the money. Sounds harsh? Not quite, studies show that this all-or-nothing technique is effective in exciting people and getting them to commit quicker.
  • Backers don’t profit financially – A backer, or one who donates to the campaign, does not see a financial gain from his donation. Rather, he is backing a project to see it take shape and prosper. As the project creator, you can reward backers who pledge more with some sort of thank you: maybe a copy of your CD or whatever it is you are asking people to believe in.
  • Kickstarter collects 5% of the funds collected to successfully funded projects only.

So, now that you know a bit about how this company works. Is it right for you?

How to create a successful Kickstarter campaign:

First and foremost, you have to BELIEVE you can reach your goal. Everything is reflected in your belief of this dream, and it is time to immerse yourself completely in your project.

  1. Sell your story, not your product. People have much more incentive to invest in something that they believe has an inspiring story attached to it. They want to be a part of your success and excitement, so let it all out. You might not think it’s interesting, but tell a compelling story about yourself. Don’t be afraid of failure and putting yourself out there. It makes everything all the more real.
  2. Be active. You must stay active with your community. Share EVERYTHING: pictures, updates, failures, etc. It’s important that people see what you’re doing, so utilize social networks, newsletters, word-of-mouth, etc.
  3. Entice with exciting rewards. Let’s face it. People are more inclined to invest in things when they get something in return. So, make rewards for your backers exciting.
  4. Engage with your backers. Customize the messages and conversations you create with your backers. No one wants to receive an automated “Thank You”. It doesn’t feel genuine. So be yourself, and interact with those who are investing in you.
  5. Incorporate a video. Share your story through a video. Seeing you speak rather than reading about it will generate fans and feel more personal. Show your personality – this is where you’ll really capture believers.
  6. Make sure your goals and deadlines are feasible. This needs to be something that is planned in detail. Don’t skimp on doing your homework. For instance, realize that holidays might be slower times. Carefully map out a campaign that is realistic for your goals and will show results for your investors.

Don’t take our word for it; there are so many successful Kickstarter campaigns. Check out how these two Austin authors reached their goal in only 11 hours. Honestly, just browse the internet. You’ll find a slew of successful Kickstarter campaigns (and maybe some not so successful) and draw inspiration from them. It’s really an awesome concept that is bringing to the forefront creative minds that wouldn’t have had the chance to share their ideas otherwise. 

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